Monday, June 04, 2007

MEDIA: Daily Telegraph editor declares FGM "Islamic"

The Opinion Editor of the Daily Telegraph, Tim Blair, has glorified the disgusting and illegal (at least in Australia) practise of female genital mutilation as “Islamic girl cutting”.

FGM is a practice common in sub-Saharan Africa. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a victim of the practice, acknowledges the practice is not mentioned in the Qur’an and in fact predates Islam (though she does claim Muslim religious authorities are silent on the practice).

Indeed, the practice is common among both Jewish and Christian women in Ethiopia, as well as among some Animist African cultures. Sadly, when Islam entered this region, its influence was unable to completely stamp out the practice. Hence sub-Saharan converts to Islam and their descendants continued to carry out this vile procedure on young girls.

By giving it the adjective of “Islamic”, Blair is effectively suggesting that Islamic theology and sacred law encourage and endorse the practice. That, or he is suggesting that the practice is widespread among Muslim communities across the world.

One in four Muslims are of South Asian extraction (as in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, as well as ex pats of these countries). FGM is unknown among any religious congregation from this part of the world. It is also unknown in the Turkish speaking world (as in Turkey and the Central Asian Turkic republics), Iran, China and most of the Arab world. It is also unknown in Muslim Europe (Bosnia and Albania).

By declaring the practice “Islamic”, Blair is providing this disgusting violation of human rights to become potentially an issue of freedom of religion. He is also placing undue emphasis on Muslim victims of the practice, thereby ignoring the plight of millions of sub-Saharan non-Muslim women and girls who are forced to undergo the procedure.

Blair is once again using a human rights and law enforcement issue as a means to attack a set of religious cultures for which he has frequently expressed virulent hatred.

Words © 2007 Irfan Yusuf

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